New Delhi: Following the conviction of football ace, Lionel Messi, by a Spanish court over tax fraud, Tata Motors officials on Wednesday went on the back foot as it refused to comment on the association of the football legend with Indian auto giant.
“We do not have any comment on this till we have further details available,” was the one-liner issued by the spokesperson of Tata.
Messi was associated as brand ambassador for Tata Motors last November. The two-year deal has an extension option.
With court awarding a 21-month jail term to Messi and his father Jorge in Spain for tax frauds amounting to 4.1 million euro between 2007 and 2009, Tata Motors will carefully evaluate the repercussions of this controversy on its brand image.
According to reports, sources in the company said the legal team was in touch with Messi’s managers to get more clarity on the court verdict and its implications.
In June, high courts of Barcelona ruled that Messi should not be granted immunity for not knowing what his father did.
The income related to Messi’s image rights, including contracts with Banco Sabadell, Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Procter and Gamble, and the Kuwait Food Company.
Messi and his father made a voluntary €5m “corrective payment” – equal to the alleged unpaid tax plus interest – in August 2013.
Recently the football star had announced retirement from international football and this will also put a question mark on his stint with FCB Barcelona.